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10 - Solitary Births In Téra, Niger: A Local Quest For Safety

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Chapter Summary

Silence and secrecy have always surrounded pregnancy and childbirth in Songhay villages in southwestern Niger and continue to do so today in spite of rapid socio-economic developments and bio-medical advances in health care. This chapter discusses the ways in which determined women in Niger's Tera district find spiritual and social safety in their choice of childbirth practices. Tondi-Gungo literally means 'Rock Island' which is exactly what the place looks like when you approach it along one of the dirt tracks through the bush. Tondigoungo is a small village in the district of Tera in southwest Niger, close to the border with Burkina Faso. The nearest villages to Tondigoungo are hamlets with some scattered huts and homesteads. For most people, the hospital and bio-medical care are far removed from daily life in Tondigoungo. Only a few families own a donkey and a cart and others must hire their services when necessary.

Keywords: Burkina Faso; Niger; solitary births; Songhay villages; Tern; Tondigoungo women

10.1163/ej.9789004156968.i-345.96
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